SWINDON MP Michael Wills has revealed he will be standing down at the next election.

After 12 years serving as one of the town’s two Members of Parliament, Mr Wills, 57, told the Adver last night he had always set out with the idea of serving three terms.

“I ought to practise what I preach,” he said.

The Labour MP, who is also a Privy Councillor and Minister of State for Constitutional Renewal at the Ministry of Justice, said his decision to stand down had nothing to do with the recent saga over MPs expenses and was not aimed at sending any message to the Government.

“This has been a good Government and history will say that this Government has changed the country for the better,” he said.

“This Government has made a huge difference to Swindon and has enabled huge transformation to the town.

“I have full confidence in the Prime Minister, who is someone I have known for a long time and worked closely with.

“I don’t believe he has been given enough credit for helping this country to move out of recession. He is someone who has made the right decisions in the face of an economic hurricane.”

Mr Wills added: “As for expenses, I have been very transparent about that and very careful. I published my expenses 18 months ago, a long time before all the fuss, because I thought it was only right for people to be able to scrutinise my expenses.”

The North Swindon MP admitted he had been thinking about standing down for sometime and it was on Saturday that he told his constituency party of the decision.

Married with five children, he admitted that parliamentary life did put pressure on the family, but his decision was purely one of business.

He said: “It was a very difficult decision. It is a great privilege to serve as an MP. I have always believed politics is an act of public service, and that it was probably right that no MP should serve more than three terms.

“This was not a sudden decision; it was one I have been mulling over for the past year. I did consider not standing in 2005, but I felt there was still some considerable work which needed to be done in Swindon.

“I don’t think I have become stale or set in my ways, but I felt now was the right time to stand down.”

With an election due next year, the Labour Party locally and nationally will now go through the process of finding a successor to stand for Swindon North.

Mr Wills said he had no idea of the timetable for selection.

He said: “In the meantime, I am still the MP and I will be continuing to work actively for Swindon. There will be no change in my workload or dedication to the town.”